Shit-faced Showtime has returned to their London home, the Leicester Square Theatre, for their annual yuletide version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, this time A Pissedmas Carol. The USP of this particular Christmas Carol, to distinguish it from the other versions across the country, is that one member of the cast is completely hammered and the rest of the case have to work around and incorporate their drunken ramblings into the show.
‘It’s the performances that make this Christmas show shine’: PINOCCHIO – Unicorn Theatre
The use of fairytale, music and the goodie/baddie dichotomy remain in Pinocchio at the Unicorn Theatre, but the eggy, set gags and joke routines of panto are thankfully left out. Colourful, detailed design (by Jean Chan) and puppetry (by Chris Pirie) give the show a festive lushness, but it’s the performances that make this Christmas show shine.
‘An extremely important story’: The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes – Touring
Framed by the lens of the intrusive and boundary-breaking rise of artificial intelligence, The Shadow Whose Prey Becomes the Hunter by Back to Back Theatre serves as a wake-up call on how non-disabled people alienate people who have what are referred to in Australia as ‘intellectual disabilities’.
‘Delivered with engaging energy’: BROWN BOYS SWIM – Soho Theatre
Most impactful in Brown Boys Swim at Soho Theatre is the unexpected ending where the actual stakes are revealed, after have been largely masked by the frivolity of the premise. There’s some brief foreshadowing, but this is glossed over by the boys’ vivacity and focus on impressing their peers so it’s easy to miss.
‘Deeply human & beautifully performed’: AGE IS A FEELING – Soho Theatre
Hayley McGee’s monologue Age Is A Feeling at the Soho Theatre, narrating an unnamed person’s life, from age 25 through the years after the they die, hones in on key episodes that irrevocably define them and their future, as well as drawing attention to death’s inevitability. As sombre as this piece is, it also adeptly encapsulates moments of joy. As a whole, it’s deeply human and beautifully performed.
‘A smart adaptation that works well in surprising ways’: THE CHERRY ORCHARD – The Yard
The Yard, London – until 22 October 2022 Through his most recent play An Adventure, writer Vinay Patel proved he can masterfully sustain family dramas grappling with big themes. By sticking close to Chekhov’s original story, this adaptation of The Cherry Orchard set in the distant future does similar. A spaceship replaces the estate, but the strict social stratification with …
‘This adaptation is almost flawless’: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL – Stratford-upon-Avon
The play All’s Well That Ends Well at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon provides a lot of food for thought, but under McIntyre’s eye it remains a humorous piece. This excellent adaptation is mesmerising from start to finish and is one of the best RSC productions I’ve seen.
‘Gentle story of accepting & managing mental health issues’: BREATHLESS – Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Inspired by her own experience of clothes hoarding, the monologue Breathless by Laura Horton at Pleasance Courtyard is a gentle story of accepting and managing mental health issues.
‘Let’s hope industry leaders listen’: CASTE-ING – Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Nouveau Riche, creators of the hit show Queens of Sheba that confronts systemically ingrained misogynoir, now focuses on the experience of being a Black woman actor in Caste-ing. Using music, beatboxing and spoken word to expose the micro-aggressions and racism that shape their working lives, the show is a rallying cry for change within theatre and film.
‘Certainly won’t leave anyone bored’: WONDERVILLE: MAGIC & CABARET – Wonderville Club
Fresh from a West End run several months ago, Wonderville has hunkered down to do its own residency at its own purpose-built venue at the former Planet Hollywood café in London’s Haymarket, a few minutes from Piccadilly Circus. Here for an open-ended run, there is a mix of magic and variety acts, playing on rotation.
‘Fantastically good fun’: Kathy & Stella Solve a Murder – Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Musical comedy Kathy & Stella Solve a Murder by Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones at Roundabout @ Summerhall is a hilarious caper that embraces the genre’s fans, life’s unexpected heroes and the quest to find yourself.
‘The only sure thing is that the play has us captive’: The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying – Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Eoin McAndrew’s script for The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is borderline cruel in that Rooney is required to deliver the frenzied prose in only an hour. But it is watertight. Hysterical in tone, speed, and funniness, and Fay Lomas’ direction ensures the writing is done justice. The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying is slick, moving, and an absolute gem of the Fringe.
‘Difficult to keep track’: MAN OF 100 FACES – Edinburgh Festival Fringe
by Laura Kressly The disaffected son of a clergyman, Sir Paul Dukes, ran away to Russia to work as a musician. While there, the Russian Revolution started and British intelligence recruited him to work as a secret agent. He was to smuggle prominent people and useful materials across the border to Finland, and otherwise do […]
‘Reclamation of trans people’s othering is joyful & fun’: SOMETHING IN THE WATER – Edinburgh Festival Fringe
In transphobic discourse, trans people are feared and consequently monstered. In these bigots’ brains, they are positioned outside the gender binary and labelled ‘not normal’. Canadian trans nonbinary theatremaker SE Grummett (they/them) first satirises what is considered normal within traditional gender roles, then creates a simple folktale where trans people as superheroes. They uses puppetry, audience interaction and live feed video projection along with monologues to both hilarious and profound effect.
‘The comedy & cultural references are spot-on’: BAD TEACHER – Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Bad Teacher is a new production from Queen of Cups, a young female-led and London-based theatre company. This one-woman play follows young teacher Evie and her particularly bad day at school, from coming in with a hangover to a hectic parent evening.
‘The comic timing from the cast is certainly on point’: SISTER ACT – Eventim Apollo
Based on the hit 1992 comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg, this is the latest touring incarnation of the highly entertaining musical Sister Act. Originally set to star Goldberg in a reprise of the role, the cast instead has the more than able replacement of Beverley Knight. Joined by Jennifer Saunders, Lesley Joseph and Clive Rowe, this revival certainly isn’t lacking firepower in the casting department.
‘Their world is tough but they get through it together’: THE DARKEST PART OF THE NIGHT – Kiln Theatre
Directed by Nancy Medina, Zodwa Nyoni’s The Darkest Part of the Night shares the experience of a young, autistic Black boy, Dwight. The play follows his diagnostic process in 1980s Leeds. Tenderly by Lee Phillips, he is a young man full of joy – he loves to dance, listen to music, and play “the adventure game” with his sister Shirley, the rules of which are never really explained.
‘A wildly entertaining show’: Jean Paul Gaultier: Fashion Freak Show – Camden Roundhouse
The concept of Jean Paul Gaultier: Fashion Freak Show at London’s Roundhouse consists of a narrative of the life and times of fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, put together to include a multitude of his fashion designs and a large cast of dancers.
‘The writing is smooth & sprinkled with beautiful lines’: MOMENT OF GRACE – Hope Theatre
Moment of Grace by Bren Gosling narrates Princess Diana’s visit to Britain’s first HIV/AIDS unit at the end of the eighties. It’s a personal and moving show that addresses people’s misconceptions that kept AIDS a taboo, driven by anger and fear. The show is produced by Backstory Ensemble Productions in association with The National HIV Story Trust (NHST), a charity set up to ensure the history of the 80’s and 90’s HIV/AIDS pandemic is not forgotten.
‘Entertaining & thought-provoking family drama’: FAVOUR – Bush Theatre
Favour is another artistic success from the consistently-innovative Bush Theatre, set within a community and on subject matter rarely shown on stage. It is very well worth going out of the way to watch.